Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trump's Big CON: He and Family Claim to Be Brilliant, AND Incompetent At the Same Time

UPDATE III:  "Does Jared Kushner know anything about anything?

A) Yes. Of course.

He is a wunderkind. (You get to be a wunderkind well into your 30s when you look like him.) . .

B) No, of course not.

He is but a tiny, beardless youth! Look how young he is! Barely out of short pants! What can he know of life in this world? What can he know of business? . .

He does not understand how to fill out a simple form. Of course not! He is but a simple man, if you can even call him a man yet. (You should not.) But someday, when he is old enough, he will learn. In the meantime, he should be put somewhere where he cannot do any damage, perhaps in charge of making peace in the Middle East or revamping all of government or fixing the opiate crisis left in his bounce castle with his bear and his chocolate milk. . .

He is very sorry, but he cannot help you and he would like to go home now, he is tired, and it is time for his nap.

c) He is a true miracle of science who, amazingly, can persist in both states at once, even when observed.

But not observed too closely."

Read the Washington Post, Jared Kushner: Boy wizard or total ignoramus?

UPDATE II:  When The Donald "needed somebody to negotiate peace in the Middle East, he asked Kushner. When he needed somebody to be his point man with China and with Mexico, he asked Kushner. When he needed somebody to solve the opioid epidemic, reform veterans’ care, overhaul the criminal justice system and reinvent the entire federal government, Trump again turned to Kushner. Even when he just needed somebody to strap a flak jacket over his navy blazer and fly off to Baghdad, Kushner was the one he asked. . .

Kushner explained how a full accounting of his foreign contacts fell through the cracks 'amid the scramble of finalizing the unwinding of my involvement from my company, moving my family to Washington, completing the paper work to divest assets and resign from my outside positions and complete my security and financial disclosure forms.' A 'miscommunication' led his assistant to file his form prematurely.

He said he omitted not only meetings with Russians, but “over one hundred contacts from more than twenty countries.”

And this is supposed to help him?

That’s the trouble with Kushner’s defense in the Russia imbroglio. He’s essentially arguing that he isn’t corrupt — he’s just in over his head. He didn’t really know what he was doing, and he was too busy. Coming from the man charged with handling everything from Middle East peace to opioids, this isn’t reassuring.

This inexperience defense is consistent with Kushner’s filing Friday showing that he had previously neglected to disclose more than 70 assets, as required, including an art collection (with wife Ivanka Trump) worth as much as $25 million. The Middle East peace negotiator also did not disclose that he held Israeli government bonds.

Yet Kushner’s father-in-law entrusted him with what is arguably the most difficult portfolio ever to be assigned to a White House aide. His previous experience: running his family real estate business, which he took over in 2005 when his father was convicted of tax evasion. The next year, Kushner bought a $1.8 billion Manhattan building, near the top of the real estate cycle, and his family has been trying to find investors to keep the project afloat.

So now Kushner is defending himself by playing the ingenue: 'All of these were tasks that I had never performed on a campaign previously,' and 'I could not even remember the name of the Russian ambassador.' Kushner, arguing that he didn’t seek to create a 'back channel' with Russia, explained that he merely asked the Russian ambassador if he “had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use.'

The defense leaves one big question unanswered: Why is a man of such inexperience in charge of so much?

Don’t ask."

Read the Washington Post, Jared Kushner’s only excuse: He has no idea what he’s doing.

Read also the Washington Post, Jared Kushner ‘forgets’ to disclose his assets? Seize them.

UPDATE:  "Donald Trump, the first president in American history to take office with no prior governing or military experience, [like to appoint friends with no related professional experience]. . .

These two things are not unrelated. Trump has repeatedly dismissed the knowledge and wisdom of experts while elevating nonexperts who lack relevant experience into important jobs across the federal government. This gets less attention than other story lines, but it has been a hallmark of the president’s first six months in power.

The administration is heavily populated with people who lack qualifications that would have been prerequisites to get the same jobs in past Republican and Democratic administrations. It starts at the top: No one not named Trump seriously believes that the president’s daughter and son-in-law could have gotten their plum West Wing jobs if not for nepotism. . .

In a new book entitled 'The Death of Expertise: The Campaign against Established Knowledge and Why It Matters,' Tom Nichols describes Trump’s victory last November as 'undeniably one of the most recent—and one of the loudest—trumpets sounding the impending death of expertise.'

The president defended his lack of specific policy knowledge during a rally on the eve of the Wisconsin primary in 2016. 'They say, 'Oh, Trump doesn’t have experts,'' Trump said. 'You know, I’ve always wanted to say this: … The experts are terrible! They say, 'Donald Trump needs a foreign policy adviser.' … But supposing I didn’t have one, would it be worse than what we’re doing now?'

Nichols, a professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island, believes the 'death of expertise and its associated attacks on knowledge fundamentally undermine the republican system of government.'

'The abysmal literacy, both political and general, of the American public is the foundation for all of these problems. It is the soil in which all of the other dysfunctions have taken root and prospered, with the 2016 election only its most recent expression,' Nichols writes. 'Americans have increasingly unrealistic expectations of what their political and economic system can provide. This sense of entitlement is one reason they are continually angry at ‘experts’ and especially at ‘elitists,’ a word that in modern American usage can mean almost anyone with any education who refuses to coddle the public’s mistaken beliefs. When told that ending poverty or preventing terrorism is a lot harder than it looks, Americans roll their eyes. Unable to comprehend all of the complexity around them, they choose instead to comprehend almost none of it and then sullenly blame experts, politicians and bureaucrats for seizing control of their lives.' . .

The 252-page book is packed with illustrations. 'What I find so striking today is not that people dismiss expertise, but that they do so with such frequency, on so many issues, and with such anger,' Nichols laments. 'It may be that attacks on expertise are more obvious due to the ubiquity of the Internet, the undisciplined nature of conversation on social media, or the demands of the twenty-four-hour news cycle. But there is a self-righteousness and fury to this new rejection of expertise that suggest, at least to me, that this isn’t just mistrust or questioning or the pursuit of alternatives: it is narcissism, coupled to a disdain for expertise as some sort of exercise in self-actualization.'"

Read the Washington Post, Trump marginalizes experts, debases expertise.

Jared Kushner's explanation of his "meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian attorney, former Russian counterintelligence agent and Russian interpreter" doesn't make sense

"His defense appears to be that he was so naive and oblivious he didn’t know what was going on — and then so memory-challenged and sloppy that he did not fill out his security clearance forms accurately. 'Kushner’s explanations are plausible and reveal what may be even worse than collusion ultimately: incompetence,' [Clinton Watts, former FBI special agent and now senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute] says. 'Assuming Kushner’s accounts are correct, these Russian meetings point to the worst fears about a President relying on family loyalty rather than experience to pursue America’s best interests. They are in over the heads, unaware of how American adversaries exploit their vulnerabilities and completely lacking in strategic policy direction.' He adds, 'Trump isn’t making America great again, he’s making Russia great again as he unwittingly bows to Russian mastery.' . .

If not evidence of malicious deception, the story reveals a young man who is in over his head and out of his depth to such a degree that he does not know he is in over his head and out of his depth."

Read the Washington Post, Kushner’s damning account: At the very least, he’s in over his head.

Let’s not forget, Kushner is “President Trump’s point man with the Chinese . . brokering a durable truce between the Israelis and the Palestinians. 'If you can’t produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can,' Trump said to the 36-year-old real estate scion, who has absolutely no background in diplomacy, from the stage of an inaugural party. . . [and] supervising the brand new Office of American Innovation, whose modest ambition is a full-scale reorganization of the federal government that makes it more efficient.”

Read also Trump's Big CON: Incompetence and Mismanagement Aggravated by Nepotism and Dishonesty, Trump, You're Fired!

Trump's Big CON: The TrumpDon'tCare (© Health Care Vote

UPDATE: "Republicans’ desperation to pass something, anything, that they can call “Obamacare repeal” and their total lack of concern for the health-care insurance that millions of Americans depend upon have never been more vivid. All Republicans but Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) voted to advance a bill — some kind of bill — that, from what we have seen, would dump millions off the Medicaid rolls, raise insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs for many of President Trump’s voters and return millions in tax cuts to the rich. But we don’t know, and neither does any senator know, where this is going or what consequences might flow. . .

In sum, the consolation for a meltdown in legislative order, rationality and responsible government is that we now know just how incapable the GOP is of governing. Years of antagonism toward government have made them cavalier about the harm they can do to ordinary citizens in their quest to avoid blame. What a shabby group they are. Let’s hope they don’t do real damage before they lose their majority."

Read the Washington Post, A defensive vote on an offensive bill.

"We are hurtling toward a health-care disaster in the next 36 hours or so, for the worst possible reason. Cynicism is seldom completely absent from the operation of politics, but this is truly a unique situation. Republicans are set to remake one-sixth of the American economy, threaten the economic and health security of every one of us and deprive tens of millions of people of health-care coverage, all with a bill they haven’t seen, couldn’t explain and don’t even bother to defend on its merits.

Why? Because they made a promise to their base and now they say they have to keep it — regardless of what form keeping the promise might take and how much misery it might cause.

Tomorrow, the Senate is set to vote on a Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. . .

I’ve often argued that Republicans in Congress aren’t serious about policy, but this is taking their unseriousness to the level of farce. After complaining for years that the ACA was 'rammed through' Congress — in a process that involved a full year of debate, dozens of hearings in both houses and 188 Republican amendments to the bill debated and accepted — they’re going to vote on a sweeping bill that had zero hearings and that they saw only hours before, because who cares what’s in it? It’s only the fate of the country at stake. If taking away health-care coverage from 20 million or 30 million Americans is what it takes to stave off a primary challenge from some nutball tea partier, then that’s what they’ll do.

No one would argue that keeping promises isn’t important. But Republicans have elevated the idea of keeping their promise to repeal the ACA to the point where it’s drained of all substance. You can see it in the way they talk about the various iterations of their bill. You seldom hear a Republican defend it on the terms of the bill itself. They don’t say, 'Here’s how this bill will bring down deductibles' or 'Here’s how the bill will take care of those who lose their insurance' or 'Here’s how the bill will lower costs.' That’s partly because their bills won’t do any of those things, but mostly because they just don’t care.

Instead, what they say is, 'We made a promise, and we’re going to keep it.' If Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) handed them a bill saying that all children on Medicaid would be taken to the desert, buried up to their necks in the sand, and covered in fire ants, at least 40 of them would say, 'It may not be perfect, but we have to keep the promise we made to repeal Obamacare, so I’m voting yes.'"

Read the Washington Post, Senate Republicans take cynicism to a horrifying new level.